People have been waiting and waiting for Anco to pitch in with another sporting sim. The Kick Off series played, as they say, a blinder so surely the next athletic action feast would be just as good? Elements from Kick Off and Player Manager are used in Tip Off. These include selecting a squad and alerting each player's potential, overhead views, even the packaging looks the same. But somehow the gameplay just isn't there.
The game comes as two disks with several options to choose before you get into match play. The most irrelevant is the single-
The really strange thing about this screen is that it has nothing to do with the real gameplay. No where in the rest of Tip Off do you get the chance to use these skills. You can view this in two ways: it's a pleasant freebie, or it's a waste of disk space.
Onto the real thing. You get to manage and then play with a team of pro-basket chappies. The management side entails creating a squad and assigning each player a number of attributes from a pool of points. There are 350 points to begin with and these have to be split between attributes and skills such as dribbling ability, passing, shooting, pace, jumping, stealing and stamina. Once you have set up your team you get to pick the first stringers and the subs. Then it's on into battle.
Oh dear. Yes the overhead is there, yes there is plenty of motion, and yes some of the players will even take their shorts off and moon at you. But really, could yo be bothered to actually finish a game of four quarters where you can't actually tackle anyone. Gaining and regaining the ball is a matter of luck, you can score from the half-way line and miss from the shooting zone? Maybe it's something to do with the lack of basketball culture in Britain (yes I know Crystal Palace and Kingston are fab - they also have a large American staff) but there just does not seem to be the same excitement and feeling of participation that you would expect from a good sporting sim.
Te figures are just too small, and too weedy to get any real edge on, the joystick controls are so finicky to master that you end up by pointing your player in roughly the right direction and pressing fire in the vain hope that the ball will go somewhere interesting. You can't even commit a personal foul deliberately to relieve the tedium.
Aside from the gameplay or lack of it, Tip Off is weighty with extraneous options. You can play in International, Country, Youth, National, Club, and Club classes. The number of points in your attribute pool affects your choice here.
There are a multitude of controls to get used to. These range from straightforward dribbling, through to slam
Sadly, Tip Off lacks atmosphere, finesse of gameplay and particularly flare which would have made it a must of a game for sporting fans. It does try, the sheer number of options vouch for this. But at the end of the day you have to call a time out and go and do something else instead. Shame!